back to article Climate-change scepticism must be 'treated', says enviro-sociologist

Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated", according to an Oregon-based professor of "sociology and environmental studies". Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat"

"What? It completely invalidates his argument"

This is what pisses me off about the alarmist method of "discussion". The guy gave a string of things scientists used to believe were true but later changed their minds about, to demonstrate that just because "evidence" is presented today, it doesn't mean the scientists are necessarily correct in their interpretation of it. The warmist defence to that argument? One of the events in the list he gave may have been listed as 500 years ago when in point of fact it happened much longer ago than that - therefore it completely invalidates his argument. What bollocks. As I said above - focussing on the wrong point. Typical politician's tactic of seizing on a minor innacuracy and arguing about that rather than the overall point being made.

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FAIL

Re: "Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat"

Twaddle. He gave precisely the same half-witted arguments as Creationists and alternative therapists. It's always been a crap argument. It always will be a crap argument. The fact that half a dozen half-wits on here think it is coherent doesn't stop if being a crap argument.

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USSR again

The communists did this in the USSR, they treated people who didn't believe in the Socialst/communist ideals, sending them into drug treatments, in the name of mental health.

If the world cannot accept diverging points of view, then we have lost all freedom, and it's time to start the wars again, to regain our freedom.

BTW there is no such thing as a climate sceptic, nor a climate denier, no one denies that there is a climate, nor that it can change.

This kind of thinking is indicative that this is not a sciencetific debate, but rather a religious debate, and is no better than other religions - thou. shall believe or perish!!!

The only thing is, that there is a group of us, who have not yet seen any convincing data that supports the contention that Humans control the climate via CO2 (or even can control it), and thus CO2 is the only factor, of impotance. Particularly when we look at other research, where temperature maps with near perfect correlation to the energy output of the sun.

When you compare CO2 with temperature, then it's only in the last 30 years or so that the curves match.. Prior to that period, CO2 was lagging temperature by around 800 years, indicating that temperature drives CO2, and not the otherway around..

I'm an engineer, and I like to make up my own mind, and as yet, the AGW fanatics, have provided nothing to convince me, other than IT IS THE CASE!!!!!! I actually still believe that the case against AGW is the strongest.. But no one will provide facts to me, only highly manipulated data sets, like the infamous hockey stick, and simliar dataset, which ignore historical information - such as the little iceage/middle age warm period.

It would suit the debate, if when reports were publicised, that it included references to the research papers, which further more would give access to the raw data and methods, so that other people can verify the results, however, most of the data, and papers are restricted access - why, if it is so important ?

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Re: USSR again

"Particularly when we look at other research, where temperature maps with near perfect correlation to the energy output of the sun."

It doesn't:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

"CO2 was lagging temperature by around 800 years, indicating that temperature drives CO2, and not the otherway around.."

It doesn't:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

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Re: USSR again

I also find it odd that you profess all these arguments for why you don't accept man-made global warming and you claim you want to see evidence but you haven't bothered to google for any answers.

Because if you typed CO2 lags temperature into google you'd get lots of information about the subject you clearly are unaware of.

Either that or you've chosen to ignore it and repeat the claim that temperature causes the CO2 rises "not the otherway round"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: USSR again

And this is why Engineers should be running the planet not the 'Pope of the MMAGW cult'.

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Re: USSR again

"The communists did this in the USSR, they treated people who didn't believe in the Socialst/communist ideals, sending them into drug treatments, in the name of mental health."

Any Godwin's Law experts care to rule on this?

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Boffin

Re: USSR again

"temperature maps with near perfect correlation to the energy output of the sun."

Er, no it doesn't. Solar energy output has been pretty constant (over its 11- and 22-year cycles) for quite a while now - see for example

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/effect-of-sun-on-climate-faq.html#Figure_2 (reference to the source paper is on the same page)

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Trollface

Reasons why engineers shouldn't rule the world

http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/security/extremist-engineers/0

"The paper cites evidence that engineering graduates are much more religious and politically conservative than those pursuing other courses of study. ”People gravitating toward engineering already have those views,” says Hertog. ”Engineering seems to attract a larger share of people drawn to rule-bound systems, compared with other scientists who primarily work on open-ended questions and might be more skeptical.”

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/why-are-so-many-would-be-terrorists-engineers-1.263214

"...engineering as a field of study and a profession tends to attract people who seek certainty, and their approach to the world is largely mechanistic. So they are characterized by a greater intolerance of uncertainty - a quality that is evident among extremists, both religious and secular."

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Re: USSR again

My meter reads 0.78 Godwins but it's been a while since it was calibrated.

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Pint

Re: USSR again

better than that, I'll jump into the hole with a shovel myself... godwin, are you in here? goooodwiiin!?:

We need sceptics, people who dare to opose established views, even when those views are so generally accepted that oposing them invites ridicule or physical harm. We need them even just to make sure we don't become entrenched in our own reality so heavily that we stop questioning things.

Like the white rose gang of Munich in the early 1940's, or brave merkins suggesting that 'some' socialist ideas might be good during the mcarthy years, or, even the BNP in british politics today, sceptics should never be run out of town. if they stick to ideas and not violence (I support the right of the BNP to exist as a political party, as much as my right never to vote for them (if I was allowed to vote on this rainy island..).

Sadly this rarely happens: mcarthy used the organisations available to him to hunt down his own countrymen because of their political beliefs, hitler had the leaders of the white rose gang beheaded, and a worryingly large number of people who I've met who describe themselves as liberal (UK meaning, not US) seem to want horrible things to befall BNP supporters.

Sceptics are good, it's when they dissapear that things get rocky (and Im not 100% convinced that the good sociologist meant that we should start re-education programmes, call me sceptic :)

disclosure: I'm a 80/20 (maybe 75/25) convinced that we have a case for human made global warming, and convinced of the science behind CO2 = greenhouse gas. However, if a scientist wonders if C02 = greenhouse gas is indeed correct and starts looking into it then I will await the results of his or her research rather than ridicule them for looking into my established conviction.

Friday = beer.

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@oddie

We certainly do need sceptics.

And this particular academic would argue that she's on the sceptical side - her point is that individuals and societies are preserving the status quo in the face of evidence from climate scientists who are sceptical that this is the best thing to be doing.

From an academic point of view the climate science isn't the issue here, it's the strange inertia even in response to a significant threat - the 'boiling frog' idea.

disclosure: I've got no idea if there's any human-made global warming and don't particularly care

Friday = booze (but I do not want to get off the fence on the specifics)

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Re: Reasons why engineers shouldn't rule the world

Or, to paraphrase, engineers can do MATH and have LOGIC and REASONING, as opposed to other scientists who just GUESSTIMATE at whatever idea is most convenient or interesting to them at the time.

Of COURSE they are going to be considered more conservative, since they will stick to what works and not to what they wish was going to work.

Engineers also tend to be conservative voters for the same reasons. Math and economics are not dissimilar, and engineers understand that money, like energy, can't just be created on a whim.

TL:DR version: Engineers know when things just "don't add up".

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Meh

Re: Reasons why engineers shouldn't rule the world

"engineers understand that money, like energy, can't just be created on a whim."

Engineers may think that about money and energy but Bankers create money on a whim and scientists believe in infinite energy.

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Alert

Those who do not blindly believe in Anthropomorphic Climate change are simply saying that the present evidence presented is of insufficient quality to convince them.

The climate change models are provven to be inaccurate, I have not heard of a single prediction made by a climate change model which has actually tracked with what is happening in the real world, there would appear to be many contra indicators that anything we do is having a measurable effect on the climate. I have still to see the evidence which shows a climate change which is irrefutably caused solely by something man has done, which could not possibly have happened without man's influence. I am sure if that could be shown, then we could start talking about the supporters of anthropomorphic climate change actually having a fact to work with, up to now everything is conjecture based on manipulated data and questionable models.

If the Prof. is suggesting that we should be made to believe in anthropomorphic climate change, rather than the onus of irrefutable proof being put on those expecting us to change, then maybe the salutation of Prof should be changed to reverand?

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Boffin

Science is not in the business of "proof"

If you're waiting for scientific proof, you'll wait forever. Science is about "disproof" (falsifiability) - if AGW is theorized (on the basis of available evidence, modelling etc.), then attempts must be made to disprove it - if it continues to resist all such challenges, it is a valid theory, but it can *never* be proved formally.

We do many other things in life on the basis of such theories (gravity, relativity, evolution etc.), in fact we often RELY on them, so why the lack of confidence in this one specific area of science? I suspect, like creationists, it would require a change to your worldview that you're not willing to make, because it goes against your (unscientifically acquired) belief system.

As J. K. Galbraith put it, "In the choice between changing one's mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

"if AGW is theorized (on the basis of available evidence, modelling etc.), then attempts must be made to disprove it - if it continues to resist all such challenges, it is a valid theory, but it can *never* be proved formally."

That is why conspiracy theories won't go away.

Just because you postulate something based on "evidence" that the rest of see as manipulated and partial, doesn't mean we should all spend our lives and money trying to disprove you. Without evidence that we can all believe in as opposed to opinion and conjecture, you haven't fulfilled the first part of your statement, which if fulfilled would mean you were taken seriously by the rest of us.

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Boffin

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

Ok, I have a theory.

HADCRU deliberately falsified their results, manipulated their models and data as the results obtained did not match their world view.

This is supported by my observations of the climategate emails in the press, their refusal to release the raw data for review by independent third parties, the exclusion of datasets that contradicted their "truth" and their gaming of the peer review process.

Exercise for the warm-mongers/frothinggreenies: disprove the above using scientific method.

Wow - just realised I can change the name I post under. There is enough information above to identify my original posting name.

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

"Exercise for the warm-mongers/frothinggreenies: disprove the above using scientific method."

Simple:

Other groups have produced the same results.

Did you somehow miss the whole BEST thing?

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FAIL

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

where?

I notice you did not disprove any of observations.

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

I didn't need to.

The scientific results hold up. Others reproduced the temperature record results. The BEST analysis for example. Even before climategate other groups had found the same amount of global warming as the CRU team using independent methods.

Your "observations of the climategate emails in the press" are thus irrelevant and we have to wonder how you could draw the wrong conclusion that the temperature record results were in error.

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FAIL

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

Ummm.. no.

the point was you cannot disprove my theory.

My theory in no way mentioned whether or not there is climate change.

just that HADCRU did not perform science and were not willing to stand by their bodged theories in front of truly unbiased review.

go froth elsewhere.

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

I can disprove your theory. Your theory is that the CRU falsified their results.

A prediction of that theory would be that the CRU results cannot be reproduced by others.

That prediction fails.

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

Really?

using all the data?

Or still just the edited subset that supports this?

Examples please.

No comment on the gaming of peer review either so I assume you agree they did?

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

All the data. The idea that CRU had falsified the data was ridiculous considering all the other bodies were reporting similar results:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Various_Temp.png

Plus more since, including non-scientists. are they all in some global conspiracy?

No, they didn't game peer review either. You can find discussions about three papers they didn't like in the climategate emails and expressed outrage over. Their words show they didn't like the papers because they thought the science in them was crap, not because they found the papers threatening.

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Holmes

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

<q>

If you're waiting for scientific proof, you'll wait forever. Science is about "disproof" (falsifiability) - if AGW is theorized (on the basis of available evidence, modelling etc.), then attempts must be made to disprove it - if it continues to resist all such challenges, it is a valid theory, but it can *never* be proved formally.

</q>

Actually the burden on proponents of a hypothesis [before it graduates to being a 'theory'] is to provide one or more testable predictions. These would be tests / predictions that would have a different outcome if the hypothesis was a better description of the world than the current, generally accepted theory.

The problem with the CAGW hypothesis is that it fails to accurately predict anything - even [as best as we can measure] the current global climate vs predictions made in the 1980's and 90's [e.g. the hockey stick graph and the underlying model's extrapolations].

What we have seen is all manner of weather events [measured as warmer, cooler, wetter, dryer, with tropical storms, absence of tropical storms....] claimed to be 'consistent with' CAGW scenarios.

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

So what you're saying is that if I clip the tree ring data showing a temperature decrease (instead of a temperature increase as the hypothesis predicted) and substitute thermometer data which shows the desired increase, that I have effectively reproduced the results. Sure, that works. It's unethical, but it works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

"The scientific results hold up. Others reproduced the temperature record results."

Not independently. They used the adjusted data provided by the original global warming troika.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

"If you're waiting for scientific proof, you'll wait forever. Science is about "disproof" (falsifiability) - if AGW is theorized (on the basis of available evidence, modelling etc.), then attempts must be made to disprove it - if it continues to resist all such challenges, it is a valid theory, but it can *never* be proved formally."

Rubbish!

1. Observe some aspect of the universe.

2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.

3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.

4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.

http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node6.html

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Re: Science is not in the business of "proof"

""The scientific results hold up. Others reproduced the temperature record results."

Not independently. They used the adjusted data provided by the original global warming troika."

Wrong. They used the raw data.

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Anonymous Coward

Science first

Any group that needs to sack people for holding the "wrong belief", or withholds data, or gives it more weight that it actually shows, or insults other scientists, in my opinion, can not have a very good case.

Good science is self-evident, and the fact that there is no "smoking gun" shows that there is not overwhelming evidence for man-made climate change. I have no doubt that there is good evidence for it, but that is not the same thing.

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WTF?

Re: Science first

Good science is self evident?!

Let me just mention a few items:-

Newton's laws of motion

Special relativity

Quantum Mechanics

Plate Tectonics

Evolution

Genetics and DNA

Those are all, unarguably and undeniable, good science. They were all far from self evident when they were first postulated.

I have a horrible feeling that in a hundred years time, AGW will also be on this list.

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Devil

I bet

the russians are rubbing their hands with glee at the news

First they can sell us the gas/oil we need, then they can open all those 're-education' centers to keep us skeptics from 'harming' the population and charge $1000/yr to keep us.

I'm an engineer, in my world something works or it does'nt, in either case its my job to find out why and work out a way of fixing it.

According to the eco-movement the temperature rise is caused by C02 emissions, so why are they so opposed to nuclear power when it produces next to no CO2 per Kw ?

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The problem of communicating science is very real. This should be clear even to people who disagree with climate change - forget climate change, think about other topics that are way more clear-cut, and *still* become controversial out of sheer ignorance. Think about all the people who are against vaccination, for example. Or evolution. Think about homeopathy. There's no good reason for which these topics should still be debated, and yet they are.

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Thumb Up

actually...

both the way we vaccinate as well as the theory of evolution have changed over the years.. neither was born 'perfect' with no need to ever question or try to improve on. Creationists might take things a bit too far, but there still is not a complete concencus on evolution by science (not if the general theory holds, but some of the details).. there's still quite a few things we're trying to figure out :)

Homeopathy is different as it is based on an outright lie, that a lack of something in water can cure things which are unrelated (but, by all means, let is disprove it with science rather than just scoffing at it repeatedly :)

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Mushroom

So she flew to London to tell us that?

Funny how some of the people who are most vocal about how everybody should change their habits think that this should apply to everybody but them. If we're really causing apocalyptic warming, then why is the solution always to force the poor to make sacrifices (by way of green taxes)? If you really believe it's going to be that bad, why not start setting a good example by riding around in a horse and cart?

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FAIL

Maybe if the world's experts made it's mind up and stop moving the goal posts people WOULD believe! One moment ice caps are melting, the next 'but others are refreezing'. It's pollution ... but then we find somehing like it was worse and more fire and brimstone back in the days of the dinosaur. It's a cycle and the ice layers show historical changes liely because of sun cycles and tide changes, no it's not it'schopping down tree's ... etc etc etc. Make your fecking minds up!

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more dribble to put cash in the pockets of these idiots. Current climate change is natural development of the world and as for co2 that takes 200's of years to make any effect and is more to do with farming than cars and industry. You know its all garbage when the same people tell you to use solar panels that cause more harm than the powerstations they replace or hybrid cars that do more damage than a land rover. Its all about who profits and ther eis big cash changing hands and they try to put people down like this who voice out. Its a form of social repression much like that of dictators only more underhanded and seedy.

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Facepalm

Wow

"actual real climate scientists who know some maths"

So you accept that actual real climate scientists know something of what they're talking about?

That's a turnaround.

Perhaps you could stop listening exclusively to the dissenting voices amongst them and take notice of the consensus now.

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Re: Wow

Yes, there are a few out there.

Not all of them mind as this statistician is keen to point out:

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=195

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Anonymous Coward

All of this is somewhat missing the point... The fact of the matter is we cannot preclude global warming through belief, decide what action needs to be taken and make your case.

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Happy

Brilliant.

Within hours of publication, this has generated a whole stream of drooling halfwits demonstrating _exactly_ the issues of ignorance and prejudice that the sociologist wants to be addressed.

I assume that was the purpose of the article?

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Re: Brilliant.

I drive a ULEV, recycle everything I can, and I have got to tell you:

I see more ignorance and prejudice from the AGW crowd than I do the "deniers". This whole "you must be mentally ill if you don't agree with us" attitude is nothing new out of that camp.

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Re: Brilliant.

@Figgus

Read the article rather than Lewis's moronic interpretation. Nobody mentions mental illness.

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FAIL

Lewis Page has done it again.

The very first sentence of the article is completely misleading, in a way that the Discovery Institute or Answers In Genesis would be proud of.

There is no indication or even an implication that 'Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated"'.

In fact the press release states that "From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected...People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think."

It also says that ""This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat."

There is no suggestion whatsoever that this sort of skepticism is a "sickness of society". On the contrary, it says that this behaviour is to be expected.

But I've given up expecting fair or reasonable discussion on this subject on El Reg.

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Re: Lewis Page has done it again.

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated [...]"

As you seem incapable of actually comprehending the written word, why should anyone much pay attention to your blithering?

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Re: Lewis Page has done it again.

"Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated""

!=

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated"

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Jury still out != Denier

This is why the debate has become so rotten. You have to either be a believer or a denier.

I am neither, I'm just waiting for irrefutable evidence that demonstrates climate science has been able to successfully model the chaos theory of our ecosystem. I am yet to see any report that fits that criteria and doubt we will for many years.

I would suggest it is those who have already made their made up based on incomplete evidence that need therapy... well no, not therapy actually, just an education in the concept of critical reasoning and a grounding that all you are told to believe is not always true, , especially when it's coming from vested interests.

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Re: Jury still out != Denier

I assume you take the same stance on homeopathy (which has effectively the same level of 'controversy' as climate science)? You're happy to accept that water might be a miracle cure until somebody provides IRREFUTABLE evidence?

Being arrogant enough to think you know better than the overwhelming majority of experts is not being a sceptic. It is being an idiot.

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